The Supreme Court on Monday restrained the Tripura Police from taking action with respect to their notice to Twitter about a journalist’s tweet on the communal violence in the state, Live Law reported.

The petition before the Supreme Court was filed by journalist Samiullah Shabbir Khan, who had reportedly put out a tweet alleging that a place of worship was vandalised during the violence. The Tripura Police have repeatedly denied reports that a mosque was burnt during the violence in October.

The court on Monday issued notices to the respondents and tagged Khan’s petition along with other related matters.

The superintendent of police (cyber crime) had issued the notice to Twitter on November 22.

During the hearing on Monday, advocate Shahrukh Alam, representing Khan, said that the notice had sought her client’s browsing history, his telephone number and IP address. The police had also asked for the tweet to be preserved for the purposes of the investigation of the criminal case against her, PTI reported.

Alam contended that the notice was an invasion of Khan’s privacy. She also argued that writing about the communal violence cannot be construed as contributing to the violence.

Khan’s petition states that he is a socially conscious student and has been made the subject of a roving inquiry.

“The current narrative inverts the source of threat and violence, from the actual participants to those who have reported, criticised and questioned it,” the petition states. “It thus has a chilling effect on democratic accountability.”

The petitioner demanded the quashing of the notice issued to Twitter under Section 91 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, which deals with a summons to provide documents.

Tripura violence

The Vishwa Hindu Parishad had organised a protest rally in the state on October 26, which led to violence and attacks on mosques as well as shops and homes of Muslims in Tripura.

The police had repeatedly claimed that the law and order situation in the state was “absolutely normal”.

In November, the Tripura Police had invoked the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act against lawyers and journalists for allegedly spreading distorted and objectionable content about violence in the state.

The Editors Guild of India in December released a fact-finding report, in which it said that the Tripura government was “able to condition and manipulate the local media to prevent free expression”. It however, said that the government was not able to do so with news organisations or journalists based outside the state.